GSA Technology Council

TSAChoice Announces 10,000-step Walking Challenge Winner, Donates to United Way of Henderson County

Technology integrator TSAChoice, Inc., with offices in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC, announces that the winner of its 10,000-step walking challenge is the Henderson County IT Department, and has donated $500 to the United Way of Henderson County on the IT Department’s behalf. The 10,000-step walking challenge was issued to TSAChoice’s customers and held during the month of December to help promote healthy lifestyles. Henderson County IT Department won with a team member average of 9,559 steps per day.

TSAChoice 2014 Walking Challenge Winner

As the winner of the challenge, Henderson County IT Department chose the United Way of Henderson County as the beneficiary of TSAChoice’s donation. The donation will help support United Way of Henderson County’s 10-year plan for improving their community through four primary impact areas: Education, Income, Health, and Crisis Services/Basic Needs.

Becky Snyder, CGCIO of the Henderson County IT Department, says that they didn’t really develop a team strategy to win. “We are just pretty active in our daily routines,” says Snyder. “We are always on the move and we walk between the various County buildings downtown whenever possible.” Snyder provided pedometers for the team members who didn’t already have them.

Lynn Banks, a Sales Engineer with TSAChoice who organized the competition, says that TSAChoice had already challenged its own employees, but thought it would be fun to put their team up against their customers’ teams. “We had a great time and enjoyed a little friendly competition with our customers,” Banks says. “It kept our team in check. In the end, we are happy for Henderson County IT Department’s win, and they chose such a great organization to assist.”

The 10,000-step challenge was accepted by seven local companies: Commerce Services Corporation, Council on Aging, Express Employment Professionals, Henderson County IT Department, and Western Carolina Medical Society in Western North Carolina; and Spartan Felt Company and Peidmont Reproductive Endocrinology Group in Upstate South Carolina. The second place winner was TSAChoice with a team member average of 7,625 steps per day, and in third place was Spartan Felt Company, averaging 7,225 steps per day. Banks was pleased with the level of participation. “We thought it was a success and hope to do it again next year with even more participants,” she says.

via TSAChoice

SC Department of Commerce Awards 26 Million in Tech and Entrepreneurship Grants

The South Carolina Department of Commerce is awarding $2.6 million in a second round of funding to 19 organizations across the state to further innovation, entrepreneurship and technology-based economic development.

As part of its efforts to support and grow an innovative, technology-based and entrepreneurial business environment, the Department of Commerce launched the state’s first Office of Innovation in the fall of 2013. In 2014, the Department of Commerce awarded its inaugural round of innovation grants to 14 organizations across the state and announced a second round last September.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical components to the success of our economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “We want to enable and support a stronger innovation ecosystem in South Carolina and help the state become a top place in the nation to start and build high-growth businesses.”

The South Carolina Innovation Challenge solicits proposals for projects that focus on fostering technology-based economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation in South Carolina communities through university collaboration, local government participation or public-private partnerships. Projects are required to address one or more goals of the South Carolina Innovation Plan.

For the second round of grants, nearly 60 submissions totaled $10.5 million in requests. Cities, county offices, chambers of commerce, universities, incubators and accelerators applied for funding. A project could be awarded a maximum of $250,000 in grant funds, with a required dollar-for-dollar match of non-state-appropriated funds.

Projects awarded will impact Aiken, Anderson, Charleston, Darlington, Florence, Greenville, Horry, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter and York counties, with several projects making statewide impact. Projects are outcomes-oriented, and focus on building stronger entrepreneurs and companies, growing startup communities, training technology talent and providing education and access to funding for startups in both rural and urban areas of the state:

  • Conway Innovation Center (The 5th T Innovation Group) $150,000
  • Flagship3 Incubator (Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation) $250,000
  • e-Merge @ the Garage programs (City of Anderson) $125,000
  • Project Hub Relocation and Expansion (City of Spartanburg) $50,000
  • North Dargan Innovation Center (Florence Downtown Development Corporation) $150,000
  • Startup.SC (Grand Strand Technology Council) $100,000
  • NEXT Ecosystem Acceleration (Greenville Chamber of Commerce) $250,000
  • The Harbor Entrepreneur Center (The Harbor Entrepreneur Center) $250,000
  • Duke Energy Center for Innovation Phase III (Hartsville Community Development Foundation) $100,000
  • South Carolina’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Network (The Institute for Leadership &
  • Professional Excellence at Columbia College) $100,000
  • PRISM (IT-oLogy) $100,000
  • Pickens Innovation Center (Pickens Revitalization Association) $50,000
  • Knowledge Park Innovation Center: Phase II (Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation) $250,000
  • Santee-Lynches Ecosystem for Enterprise Development (Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments) $20,000
  • SOCO Columbia’s Creative Community (SOCO) $100,000
  • SCBIO Life Science Startup in a Box (South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization) $100,000
  • iTEAMS Xtreme and CREATEng (SC Governor’s School for Science & Mathematical Foundation) $225,000
  • Aiken Innovation Project (University of South Carolina Aiken) $80,000
  • Columbia Startup Hub (University of SC/Columbia Technology Incubator) $200,000

GSATC Presents, “TECH JOBS 2015: Where there are and how to get them” April 15

You have heard there are new jobs in the tech industry every day. The demand for IT professionals is growing faster than universities and training programs can push them out, but where are these jobs? What companies are hiring and what skills are in the most demand?

Join us in April for a panel discussion with some of the biggest tech employers in the Upstate on the tech jobs they and their strongest competitors are fighting to fill. Find out what you can do to not only find them, but to get them.


Where they are and how to get them.

a GSATC Learning Lunch
with enterprise employer panelists from Golden Career Strategies, Charter Business and Verizon Wireless

11:30 – 12:00 Registration, Networking, Lunch
11:55 – 12:10 Announcements
12:20 – 1:15 Workshop
1:20 – 1:30 Door Prizes, Adjourn

This meeting is held at the Embassy Suites and features easy access from I-385, plenty of free parking, ample networking opportunities, a great presentation, and door prizes. Plan to attend.

Onsite registration is available. Lunch is $30 at the door.

TSAChoice Announces its TSA”Choice” Award Winners at Annual Company Banquet

Technology integrator TSAChoice, Inc., with offices in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC, announces its annual TSA“Choice” employee awards. TSAChoice’s management team chooses winners based on talent and positive attitude. “It is difficult to choose just one person from each division,” says Dan Watts, President. “We have a company of honest, smart, and empathetic employees.”

The division award winners are:

• John Mills, Salesperson of the Year
• Jennifer Silver, Administration Person of the Year
• Bill Keehan, Voice Tech of the Year
• Matt Smith, IT Tech of the Year
• Gary Luyckx, Low Voltage Tech of the Year
• Adam Laughter, Rookie of the Year

Overall 2014 Teammate of the Year, chosen by employee vote, is Sales Engineer Patrick Jones.

via TSAChoice

Greenville Based Azalea Capital Sells ETAK Systems, Inc.

Azalea Capital announced February 4, 2015 the sale of ETAK Systems, Inc. to a private investor group led by Mosaic Capital Partners, LLC and management. ETAK Systems, based in Charlotte, NC, is a leading service provider to national wireless communication carriers providing maintenance and installation services on key network infrastructure throughout the U.S.

Lee Priest, CEO of ETAK, stated, “We have enjoyed a successful relationship with Azalea in recent years as we have grown ETAK into an industry leading wireless services provider. Azalea provided valuable leadership and guidance, and was instrumental in the recruitment of our current team. Azalea also provided growth capital to allow ETAK to flourish and was a value added partner during our years together.”

Brookwood Associates, LLC served as financial advisor and Nelson Mullins served as legal advisor to ETAK for this transaction.

ETAK Systems’ infrastructure services include reserve battery power installation/replacement, power plant upgrades and capacity-expanding radio installations for leading wireless carriers. ETAK also offers site reviews, location analysis, engineering audits, battery testing, small cell and distributed antenna system installation and other miscellaneous services related to wireless communication networks.

via Azalea Capital

Innovation Center for High-tech Sectors Breaks Ground

Innovation Center
Clemson University and Greenville Technical College officials broke ground Monday for a $25 million center that will advance the manufacturing workforce and serve the automotive, transportation and other high-tech sectors.

The Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) is a collaboration between a leading research university, an innovative technical college and manufacturers to create a center that enhances the development and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies.

The primary goal for CMI is to increase the number of skilled workers for manufacturing to close the skills gap that has hampered the progress of many Upstate employers.

CMI, to be located adjacent to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research Technology Neighborhood 1, will offer education designed to meet industry needs. It will include dual-credit programs in partnership with Greenville County Schools, articulations that promote students’ progress from associate’s to bachelor’s degrees and workforce training and certificate programs that increase the qualifications of manufacturing employees.

Research for innovation in advanced manufacturing and future technologies related to advanced manufacturing will be incorporated into instruction. CMI will also include a Manufacturing Honors College, expected to be the first of its kind.

The center will engage K-12 students and show them the possibilities that exist in advanced manufacturing careers through dual enrollment programs, tours, camps and open houses. Students will also benefit from internships and apprenticeships that allow them to gain practical experience working alongside experienced engineers, faculty and staff.

CMI is designed to change perceptions about manufacturing with architectural features that will instantly engage students. The entryway will provide observation points where a visitor can view simulated advanced manufacturing environments and interactive displays that will educate and inspire.

From an economic development perspective, Upstate leaders have said that the economic development race will be won by communities that offer the services manufacturers need. To help companies compete globally, employers need a flexible, highly skilled workforce equipped to maximize new technologies, adapt to evolving production processes and work organization models and solve problems rapidly.

The center will offer landing pad space that helps companies start up or relocate and will provide flexible space where manufacturers can create prototypes and teach their current employees new skills to keep them on the cutting edge of improvements in technology.

The idea for the campus began with the needs of employers. As the concept has been developed, leaders with area manufacturers including BMW, Michelin, GE, Bosch Rexroth, ADEX Machining Technologies, League Manufacturing, JTEKT Koyo, Fabri-Kal, SpecFab Services, Master PT, Standard Motor Products and more have voiced strong support for the project and have provided input that has allowed plans for CMI to take shape.

In September 2013, the Greenville County Council gave unanimous approval to a $25 million bond issue for Greenville Technical College to build an enterprise campus.

In November 2013, the presidents of Greenville Tech and Clemson University signed a memorandum of understanding.

Clemson University President James P. Clements said Clemson is proud to continue its strong relationship with Greenville Technical College.

“The Center for Manufacturing Innovation is another great example of the partnership between Clemson and Greenville Tech,” said Clements. “This center has the potential to transform manufacturing education in the Upstate, which will make a huge difference that will eventually be felt across South Carolina, and I am thankful for all of the people who worked to make this happen.”

“Our Center for Manufacturing Innovation represents a game-changing approach to education,” said Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College. “We will close the skills gap by creating the skills needed for new employees and improving the skills of the current workforce. And we will fully integrate education from the K-12 system to the two-year college to the four-year university level, working together to better meet the needs of manufacturers in order to advance our economy.”

Duke Energy Joins Solar Net Agreement in South Carolina

Duke EnergyThe Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) filed a comprehensive agreement in December 2014 with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) that spells out a balanced path for solar net metering in the state.

The agreement is supported by utilities – including Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress – solar businesses, environmental groups and others.

“Cooperation was a key element when South Carolina passed solar legislation in June,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy president — South Carolina. “Many of those same groups participating in that process have ironed out an agreement that will enable solar development in the state.”

Gillespy said the settlement proposes a methodology to calculate the value of solar generation, based on its known and quantifiable benefits and costs, and provides for direct incentives for distributed energy resources.

“Our customers will participate in the growth of solar through the various incentives described in the settlement,” added Gillespy “We believe this is a positive step for South Carolina – and the future of solar energy in our state.”

You can view the entire filing here.

Under the agreement, net metering customers as of Dec. 31, 2020, will continue to be credited at the retail rate through Dec. 31, 2025.
The difference between the applicable retail rate and the value of net metered solar generation as computed under the methodology proposed in the agreement will be treated as a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) program net metering incentive and collected from customers systemwide by the utilities. This will be subject to statutory caps in effect under Act 236, the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act.
Within 60 days of the settlement, Duke Energy will file DER programs, which will include incentives for residential and small commercial customer-generators.
The parties to the settlement have agreed to revisit net metering in 2020. The new net metering tariffs approved in 2020 would apply to new customers who elect to net meter after Jan. 1, 2021, and existing customers after Dec. 31, 2025.
“This agreement allows existing and future net metering customers to have rate treatment certainty for up to 10 years. It also enables utilities to recover the cost of providing service to all customers while maintaining 24-hour service to solar and non-solar customers,” said Gillespy.

via Duke Energy

Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research Announces New Automotive Engineering Chair and Executive Director

CU-ICARZoran Filipi was introduced Tuesday as automotive engineering chair and executive director of the Carroll A. Campbell Graduate Engineering Center at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). He begins his new role immediately.

We can take automotive engineering to the next level,” Filipi said. “What excites me most is the chance to continue building and growing a pioneering department that is already a success story.”

Filipi will be the second chair in the department’s history. He takes over for Imtiaz Haque, who helped create CU-ICAR and is retiring.

Robert Jones, Clemson University’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said Filipi is highly qualified and brings an excellent set of credentials as a researcher and scholar in the automotive field.

“Zoran has a stellar record of leadership in education and research,” Jones said. “He is well-equipped to meet the growing need for top-notch automotive engineers and research.

“As department chair, he will play a key role in the CU-ICAR ecosystem that connects companies with Clemson’s students and faculty members.”

The department in the College of Engineering and Science started with three graduate students in 2006 and grew to more than 200 last year. All students in the program study at the graduate level, pursuing masters’ and doctoral degrees. Nearly 20 faculty members, most based out of CU-ICAR, are part of the department.

Filipi received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Belgrade in 1992 and joined the University of Michigan in 1994. There he was the director of the Center for Engineering Excellence through Hybrid Technology and the deputy director of the Automotive Research Center.

He is a fellow in the Society of Automotive Engineers. Filipi’s honors include the society’s Forest R. McFarland Award, The Institution of Mechanical Engineer’s Donald Julius Groen Award and the University of Michigan Research Faculty Achievement Award. He is editor-in-chief of The SAE International Journal of Alternative Powertrains.

via Clemson University

Comporium Names Russell Cook Managing Director of Comporium Ventures

ComporiumComporium announced today that Russell Cook was named managing director of Comporium Ventures, which will focus on managing its existing portfolio of investments and to identify and recommend new opportunities to acquire or invest in innovative new businesses.

CookCook, a graduate of Wofford College with a bachelor’s degree in economics, has broad experience in investment banking, real estate development, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and economic development.

Prior to joining Comporium, Cook served since 2008 as managing director of 4e Ventures, LLC., which provides advisory services and execution support to established organizations considering new ventures, internal business incubation, innovation pipeline development; as well as, strategic investments and acquisitions.

Cook was a key member of the start-up team recruited to implement the S.C. Innovation Centers Act of 2005. The SC Launch program, a collaboration among the S.C. Research Authority, Clemson University, the Medical University of S.C. and the University of S.C., provides emerging technology companies with access to seed capital and a powerful resource network.

Cook serves as a trustee for South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, a director for Boys Farm, a director for the STEM Development Foundation, a member of the Michelin Development Steering Committee, and is a mentor for The Iron Yard Accelerator. He is a member of the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association and is a certified South Carolina economic developer.

via Comporium

Help Wanted: IT/Voice Account Manager and Low Voltage Account Manager

Help Wanted

IT/Voice Account Manager
TSAChoice is actively seeking a self motivated account manager with a proven track record and knowledge of various types of information technology, including familiarity with switches, routers, servers, wireless, etc.
Low Voltage Account Manager
TSAChoice is actively seeking an audio/visual, low voltage and security account manager for the upstate SC area.

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